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Da Nang's My Khe Beach Faces Grim Future Due to Coastal Erosion

One of Vietnam’s most popular beaches, My Khe, is suffering from coastal erosion brought about by groundwater exploitation.

According to Tuoi Tre, over the last few months, signs of severe erosion can be noticed on some sections of the My Khe Beach in Da Nang. In some spots, seawater encroachment has eaten 15 meters into the sandy beach, affecting seaside structures like restaurants, food stalls, and other public amenities.

My Khe Beach is a 10-kilometer stretch of beautiful white sand that’s just a few kilometers from downtown Da Nang. It’s recognized by both international and local media as one of Vietnam’s top destination for tourists. Unfortunately, due to the risk of further erosion, local authorities had to recently fence off certain areas.

The situation is especially serious in the section of the beach where Vo Nguyen Giap and Phan Tu streets meet. Strong waves have already worn away some 200 meters of sand there. Da Nang officials have ordered locals and tourists to keep out of this dangerous area and imposed a swimming ban last Friday.

In an interview with Tuoi Tre, Dr. Nguyen Thi Minh Phuong, an environment and chemical engineering expert from Da Nang’s Duy Tan University said that My Khe is facing a “very real threat” exacerbated by human activity.

According to a study carried out by Phuong’s team, the locations where the erosion happens – along with other high-risk areas – are also where local high-rise construction projects conduct groundwater extraction.

Every day, these sites leech thousands of cubic meters of groundwater from subterranean reservoirs, thus weakening the land’s foundation, which puts Da Nang’s coastal zones at risk of erosion by wave activities and ocean currents.

“For every meter of freshwater we lose above sea level, 40 meters of saltwater can intrude into the aquifer below sea level. This phenomenon is already happening, according to our findings,” she said.

“Nature always has its way of returning to a state of equilibrium, so chances are that erosion and subsidence will continue until a new equilibrium is reached,” she added.

Coastal erosion is not the only issue plaguing My Khe: last August, part of the beach was also polluted by a local construction site. The 27-story Royal Era 1 building – in an attempt to discard waste into the treatment system – caused the pipes to overload and eventually overflow onto the beach.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

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